Healthcare Heroes in the Making, a New Hampshire Needs Caregivers! grant-funded initiative, celebrated its first cohort of high school students trained to be licensed nursing assistants (LNAs). A pinning ceremony on May 25 at LNA Health Careers in Manchester marked the completion of the pilot program. These 20 high school students are now set to begin a career as LNAs, which will help fill critical positions in the state's health care industry.
“I’m so inspired by these high school students,” said Lynn Carpenter, NH Needs Caregivers! program director. “This is an investment in their future. As a nursing home administrator for over 20 years, I would be honored to work alongside these students. I have hope for the future of health care because of the dedication of this group.”
Healthcare Heroes in the Making provides high school students with opportunities to explore a career in health care. Students learn lifetime skills, gain academic credit and clinical hours. The program also pays for training and licensing and includes 110 hours with 50 hours of theory and 60 hours of clinical training at a long-term care facility.
The first group started in February in the Seacoast region with 21 students from four area schools -- Oyster River High School, Raymond High School, Sanborn Regional High School and Winnacunnet High School. The students participated in classroom learning two nights per week at Langdon Place, a senior living community in Exeter.
“This group is spontaneous, strong and flexible,” said Maureen Murtagh, LNA trainer at LNA Health Careers. “It was a dream to work with them and I’m proud of their hard work and the future of health care.”
According to NHeconomy.com, health care is one of NH’s largest industries and is experiencing a surge in open positions. The growth rate is expected to be 15.7 percent growth through 2026. LNAs provide basic but essential nursing care to patients at a variety of health care settings that includes long-term care, hospitals, and doctors’ offices. This role aids with bathing, dressing, eating and mobility among other tasks such as checking vital signs, observing and reporting information and patient companionship. Many in the field start a health care pathway by becoming an LNA as a starting point to a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), a Registered Nurse (RN), a surgical technical or to build a life-long career as an LNA.
Healthcare Heroes in the Making is open to high schools statewide with 20 schools and 111 students approved to participate in the program to date. The organization is also supported and run through the Southern NH Area Health Education Center and is a program of the grant-funded NH Needs Caregivers! initiative helping high school students (16 years and older) start healthcare careers as licensed nursing assistants (LNAs). To learn more, visit NHNeedsCaregivers.org/high-school-caregivers.
Pictured: Sanborn Regional High School sophomore Abhi Alley-Violette is among the first cohort of high school students in the Healthcare Heroes in the Making program to be pinned as a licensed nursing assistant. Left to right: Abhi Alley-Violette, Jessica Garcia and Maureen Murtagh. (Photo courtesy of NH Needs Caregivers!)